Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A government that disowns constitutional and moral responsibility

A government that disowns constitutional and moral responsibility
In UPA government is more a coalition between Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh than between other alliance partners. Its driving force is Mrs. Gandhi’s inspiration and dynamism coupled with Dr. Singh’s silence. The history of this government will be written not in words of gold but of coal. The mole of the good this government has done is getting buried under the mountain of innumerable scams and mud of corruption.  The ‘weak’ Prime Minister is proving to be strong enough to give the country an unending chain of scams, the highest being his own Department of Coal and Mines of `1.86 lakhs crores surpassing  the 2G spectrum score of ` 1.76 lakh crores.
The bold declarations of both Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to take corruption “head-on” seem to be serving as a tonic to the demon of corruption that it is getting stronger and stronger every day.
The UPA-II  seems to have grown immune to the charges of corruption. That is why it always presents a bold face giving people the impression as if this too forms part of its great ‘achievements’. This seems to be in keeping with the latest fashionable fad that has caught up with the imagination of our political elite which when caught in heinous crimes like murder, rape, corruption and the like flash a broad smile with two fingers as if indicating victory over law of the land. The supporters, mostly paid goons, are made to organize noisy demonstrations proclaiming their leader’s ‘innocence’ and shouting that he/she will come out clean. It is a ‘politically motivated conspiracy’ to tarnish the image of their ‘ great, popular’ leader by opponents jealous of his popularity, they declare vociferously. After rubbing heels in jail with diehard criminals for months together, if the leader gets a bail pending trial in court, he is given a rousing reception as if he has returned home after scoring a decisive victory in a war against the nation’s enemies (in this case, law?).
The first reaction of Prime Minister and his colleagues is to deny any wrongdoing. Till the presentation of the CAG report on 2G scam, both the Prime Minister and Congress President were issuing certificates of innocence and honesty to the then Telecom Minister A. Raja. He has not done anything wrong, Dr. Manmohan Singh declared repeatedly, and whatever Raja has done is as per the government policy. On the eve of CAG report being presented Parliament PM was left with no alternative but to seek Raja’s resignation. A few days after his resignation when A. Raja greeted the PM in the Central Hall of Parliament in a function, Dr. Singh patted his back, for what PM knows the best.
Within about a month of Raja’s resignation, speaking at a function to celebrate 150 years of the institution of CAG on November 17, 2010 Dr. Manmohan Singh advised the audit watchdog to distinguish between “wrongdoing” and “genuine errors.” The government auditor should appreciate the context and circumstances of official decisions and it had a heavy responsibility to ensure that its reports were accurate, balanced and fair. (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article890487.ece). But so far the PM has not clarified in which category – "wrongdoing" or "genuine errors" – does fall the coal scam in his ministry
A drowning man catches whatever straw he can land his hands on to save his life. And that is exactly what the Congress is doing at the moment. It is inventing alibis, no holds barred, to save its own skin and that of the prime minister.
Congress is today targeting the CAG, an institution of the Constitution continuing since the British days It is an institution the Congress had jumped to respect and protect. Whenever opposition parties had raised a finger, the Congress pontificated others not to target an institution of the Constitution. But today its report has, in the words of Congress, become a “bizarre accounting exercise”. But whenever CAG has presented similar reports relating to non-Congress State governments, Congress takes it as a word of god and wants the state cabinets to resign or dismissed.
Congress has also come out with the alibi that many BJP and CPM chief ministers had opposed the auction of the coal blocks. A strange argument! Since when has the Congress started fulfilling the wishes of the BJP and other opposition parties? It is a ‘breaking news’ that UPA gives utmost importance and respect to the views of opposition parties and governments.  Otherwise there are numerous recommendations made by BJP and other opposition party state governments which are gathering dust in various ministries.  UPA government has so far found no time, for the last so many years, to consider  numerous enactments, some of which pertain to dealing with terror crimes, passed by various State assemblies. The Union government, the President and governors are sitting over granting their consent.
This is a repeat of the stand took government took when 2G spectrum scam burst out. UPA then claimed that it was following in 2007 the policy the BJP-led NDA government had laid down in 2001. Does it meant that UPA was blindly following NDA and implementing its agenda? 
Congress has become very generous to offer to discuss the report in Parliament “threadbare” and if need be, the “PM will clarify”. It has challenged the Opposition to move a vote of no-confidence against the government. It is true that Parliament is the institution for debate leading to finding solutions to the problems facing the country. But unfortunately, debates in Parliament have lost faith, credibility and even sanctity. The standard of debates has greatly gone down and to an extent speeches in parliament have become a replica of what our leaders aver in public meetings.  
The UPA is guilty of undermining the sanctity of the debates and resolutions passed in Parliament. Take just one instance. Last year on August 27, both houses of parliament exhibited the “sense of the house” by unanimously passing a resolution moved by the then Leader of the House Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on Lokpal Bill. Has UPA respected that ‘sense of the House’? So what will a debate on the Coal scam or discussion on a vote of no-confidence lead to? It will just be another futile coughing up of throats and raising of tempers in the house without any tangible result.
It also needs to be kept in mind that issues of corruption can be finally settled through impartial inquiries and by courts of law and not by a vote in parliament through debates. A majority in house is no verdict of “not guilty” and “honesty and innocence”.
While dealing with allegations against Mr. B. S. Yediyurappa in Karnataka the Congress did not adopt the same stand. He too enjoyed complete confidence of the house and Congress also did not move a vote of no-confidence? Why these double standards>
And can a debate in Parliament be of any use when the UPA sticks to the medieval mentality that “Kings commit no wrong”?Propounding the same principle and echoing the same sentiment Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has declared: “Our PM can never do anything wrong. And if anybody levels any such allegations against the PM, there is no correctness (or) facts in this”. (Mail Today)
And remember he is the same telecom minister who had repudiated the CAG report on 2G spectrum and claimed “zero loss” to the government. He also received an indirect rap when the Supreme Court did not question the 1.76 lakh crore loss figure.
Latest to join the galaxy of ministers making some funny claims is Mr. P. Chidamabaram, Finance Minister, who claimed no loss as most of the mines had not commenced mining. (Though on August 27 he has denied having said so, usual niche with politicians.) This again is a strange argument. If mining has not commenced, it does not absolve the Prime Minister of the charge of having made wrong allotments of coal blocks. Moreover, if mining did not take place, it again was a loss to the nation firstly because it perpetuated the shortage of coal in the country and, secondly, it resulted in a loss of revenue to the government because of non-mining. Further, it contributed to worsening the shortage of power in the country.
On the one hand, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal is generous to have a discussion in Parliament and on the other, he has termed the opposition demand for PM’s resignation as “baseless and preposterous” and BJP was “trying to make an issue out of nothing”, ()  In these circumstances, one wonders why should Congress be generous to waste the precious time and money on a debate on “an issue out of nothing”? 
Numerous scams costing the nation lakhs of crores of rupees have taken place. But here is a government that is not willing to own responsibility. If the council of ministers is not responsible, then who else can be? Article 75(3) of the Constitution provides: “The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”. That rightly means that the government is responsible (for all its acts of omission and commission) to the people through the House of the People (Lok Sabha) elected by them. The Prime Minister and his ministers take the oath to uphold the Constitution.In his clarification (which has raised more questions) issued on August 27 Prime Minister has surprisingly taken “full responsibility” for the decisions but not for the consequential wrongdoing.  The way this government is behaving it looks as if  indulging in scams and corruption is this government’s right and to put up with all their misconduct is the duty of the opposition and the people.
The then Railway Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned owning moral responsibility for a railway accident that cost about 150 lives. Mr. Shastri certainly was not himself driving that train but as minister it was his responsibility. Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari, the then Finance Minister resigned following eruption of Mundra scandal. He had not accepted any bribe. But in today’s Congress whatever may happen nobody owns responsibility or is held responsible for it. It was during Congress government at the Centre that the Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. But nobody was made accountable for the lapse. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide bomb blast in Tamilnadu when DMK was in power in the State, the same DMK with which Congress has an alliance both in the State and at the Centre.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

India's System of Justice on Trial

India's System of Justice on Trial

Going by certain instances in India since Independence 65 years ago, the system of criminal jurisprudence enforced by the alien British government has it looks, in numerous cases, failed to come up to independent India's expectations to deliver justice to all. On the contrary, it has appeared impotent to punish the guilty and give justice to the aggrieved and bereaved families. In fact, it has proved to be more beneficial and helpful to those who commit crime and yet can get away with it with an honourable acquittal or with a benefit of doubt than punishing the guilty. It is proving to be atrocious on the law abiding citizens. Fear of the rod of law on the common citizens to desist them from committing crime is vital in the interest of peace and justice. And this is what is disappearing very fast at the present juncture of time.
It is a tribute to our indigenous leadership that while Lord Macaulay could give us the Indian Penal Code after putting in a few years’ labour, independent India has failed to attune this English system of law to the changing scenario in the country during the last 65 years despite having constituted a number of commissions for the purpose.
This system has given wide opportunity to the people with resources to exploit the system to their advantage to delay investigation and prosecution of matters in courts. Mr. N. D. Tiwari could delay his DNA test for two years despite court orders by appealing to this court or that on various excuses.
The trial in the murder of the then railway minister Lalit Narain Mishra could not be taken to its logical conclusion because of delaying tactics adopted by the persons concerned. Ultimately, the accused knocked at the Supreme Court door praying for quashing of the proceedings just on the ground that the trial stands vitiated by this inordinate delay of 37 years.
Powerful and influential Gopal Kanda wanted in the suicide case of Geetika Sharma could dodge the police for 12 days – and in the words of her brother “destroy” vital evidence – seeking anticipatory bail.
Further, 14 retired Supreme Court and High Court judges have recently written to the President of India to turn the 9 death penalties into life sentences alleging “miscarriage of justice”.
Further, there are reports of hundreds of persons rotting in jails without trial, numerous of them because they cannot afford to raise money or help to get bails.
These instances are just a tip of the iceberg. Let us take up just the recent cases.
There is irony and fact in the words of Geetika’s brother Ankit who following the arreest of main accused and former Haryana Minister Gopal Kanda on August 18  said, "12 days is enough to destroy evidence. Whatever power Kanda could have used to tamper with evidence he has”. Terming the drama behind Kanda’s surremder and arrest, he said it was “a planned and well thought out” one and “my only fear is that the investigations will be impartial or not. The investigation should be transparent.", he demanded. His apprehensions are not unjustified. He wants “his (Kanda’s) interrogation to be done before camera and a retired judge so that he does not change his statement."   Ankit said Geetika's Facebook account has been deactivated and alleged that Kanda was behind it. "I have informed the DCP about it. I don't know who or how it was done. Kanda is behind it," he said.
A VIP accused
Is it not strange that the Delhi police’s long hands of law fell too short before Kanda to lay its hands on this VIP accused for more than 10 days despite their having claimed to have conducted more than 60 searches in various states. If it proves Delhi police short armed to catch hold of a person like Kanda, can one expect it to instantly nab a person accused of a terror crime where it is clueless  about the persons allegedly involved in the heinous crime?
Despite the Times of India and some news channels having flashed out on the 17th August 2012 evening that Kanda was likely to surrender, Delhi police kept just waiting for his supporters to stage a drama in front of the media to proudly claim that he came on his own “to join the investigation” as desired by the Delhi police. But facts are otherwise. He didn’t come on police ‘invitation’ but at a time of his own choosing. He was keft with no other options but to surrender after his anticipatory bail application had been rejected by the Delhi High Court.  He wanted – and succeeded -- to create a scene before the electronic media and celebrate his surrender. He succeeded; Delhi police just looked as a helpless spectator waiting to welcome him at the gate of the police station.
The impression that for Delhi police and law Kanda is no ordinary an accused who has to be interrogated but a VIP guest was proved when the Zee news channel on the 18th evening showed how a more than 70 year old elderly woman was foecibly made by Delhi police to vacate for Kanda her seat in a hospital where he was taken for a medical check-up.
For 37 years no murder trial
How our legal system is being taken for a ride by influential people came to light on August 16 when the Supreme Court dismissed a plea by the accused in the then Railway Minister Lalit Narain Mishra murder case who was killed 37 years ago. The accused had been successful in stalling the trial in a court of law, for one reason or the other, for that long. This inordinate delay has provided the accused the excuse to plead with the court to altogether quash the proceedings as the trial stood vitiated by the inordinate delay for the last 37 years. The court fell short of condemning the weaknesses of our legal system and ordered that the case be tried expeditiously.
These are no isolated instances. This is true of every other case in which influential politicians and bigwigs of industry and business or their family members or supporters are involved.
Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides that “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” 

The way the investigation and prosecution of the two cases mentioned above is proceeding does not inspire confidence that Geetika and L. N. Mishra or their families will ultimately ever get justice. If VIP politicians and those in trade and industry can be allowed the liberty to fiddle with the process of law and justice, it only makes a mockery of the constitutional provision that everybody, high or low, is equal before law. A provision of the constitution we cannot enforce in letter and spirit should altogether be removed from the statutue book instead of allowing it to be  made a laughing stock of the people and the world.
Now another instance has surfaced where, in the opinion of 14 retired judges of the Supreme Court/high courts, there had been a miscarriage of justice that motivated them to appeal to President Pranab Mukherjee to turn the capital punishment imposed on nine persons into life sentence. Led by former SC judge P B Sawant, the 14 retired judges signed up separate letters to the President pointing out that the death sentences given to these nine persons by various two-judge benches of the SC were "contrary to the binding dictum of rarest of rare" propounded in the 1980 five-judge bench verdict in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab.  These former judges were responding to a campaign launched by human rights lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhry.  
 "Rather they pertain to the administration of the death penalty in a conscientious, fair and just manner," the ex-judges said. "Executions of persons wrongly sentenced to death will severely undermine the credibility of the criminal justice system. This matter goes to the very heart of our Constitution because it involves the taking of lives by the state on the basis of judgments admitted to be erroneous by the Supreme Court."
These certainly unprecedented appeals made by former judges have highlighted many issues. First, I would address my oft-repeated argument and question to our human rights organisations, like human rights lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhry: Do the convicts, like the 9 ones mentioned earlier, only have human rights and not those innocents who became victims of their crimes? Did human rights activists do anything to bring justice to the bereaved families and help them in any way financially or legally?
This appeal by eminent jurists and former judges strikes at the very root of our system of justice. "Executions of persons wrongly sentenced to death", they argue, "will severely undermine the credibility of the criminal justice system." It may or may not have, but their making an appeal to the President of India "will severely undermine the credibility of the criminal justice system".  What is the guarantee that "miscarriage of justice" (after their appeals had been heard by the highest court of the country) had taken place only in the 9 cases mentioned by them and not in other cases earlier? What prevents people raising a finger of "miscarriage of justice" in other cases too on the same logic advanced by the learned former judges? In that case, how will the latter be wrong in doing so?
If today14 judges can make an appeal, who will present others from presenting similar appeals in future in other cases too? Will there be any finality in our system of justice then?
I am reminded of a piece I read in The Indian Express about 40 years back. It stated that in England a judge witnessed with his eyes from the balcony of his house a person being murdered. Incidentally, the case came up to his court for trial. The judge saw that the person accused of murder was not the same whom he had seen with his own eyes. He allowed the case to proceed. The police made out a very solid case and proved that the murder had been committed by that very accysed person. The judge was in a dilemma. How should I hang an innocent for a crime he had not committed but proved by the police? For a moment he thought of transferring this case to some other court and volunteering to appear himself as a witness. But then he thought, he would be setting a bad precedent. Tomorrow, some corrupt judge may try to save a guilty person by emulating a precedent set by him. He decided not to do that. Not to establish a bad precedent, he thought, let this innocent man die.
These former judges need to look inwards. Are they not setting up a bad precedent for others to follow for some extraneous considerations? Are they not themselves acting to "undermine the credibility of the criminal justice system" which they, otherwise think, they are trying to prevent by submitting their appeal to the President?
Former President Mrs. Pratibha Patil just about a month before demitting office commuted the death sentences of a record 35 cases in one go (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-22/india/32367604_1_pardons-mercy-petitions-molai-ram). This raised many eye-brows. Her action was questioned. Ultimately, she had to issue a clarification that all this was done on the recommendation of the then Home Minister P. Chidamabaram.
In fact, the very power of the President under Article 72 of the Constitution to grant clemency in consideration of the mercy petition of the convicts is itself anomalous. All decisions of the President to grant or not to grant pardon to the accused are based on the recommendation of the Cabinet. This virtually amounts to the political executive sitting judgement over the judicial verdict of the highest court of the country. In other words, it appears as if the political executive is more humane, considerate and judicious than the highest court of the country in given circumstances.
It is a normal judicial practice that after a court convicts a person for a charge like murder, it announces the quantum of punishment only after hearing, once again, both the prosecution and the defence. It, therefore, follows that the accused should have placed before the court all the extenuating facts, evidence, circumstances and legal precedents to seek minimum punishment less than a death sentence. Therefore, it follows that before a court awards death sentence to an accused, it  takes into consideration all the evidence, arguments and other human considerations. Similarly, in appeal the high court and the Supreme Court must also have gone through the same procedure before upholding the death sentence.
Therefore, what are the new considerations that weigh so heavily with the political executive as to overrule the judicial verdict that it feels impelled to grant clemency to the accused from death sentence to life term of imprisonment? If the convict had not failed to put in the logic before the court which he raises with the executive, the fault lies with the convict and not with the courts.  
Just as it is imperative, as the 14 retired judges argue, not to act "contrary to the binding dictum of rarest of rare" propounded in the 1980 five-judge bench verdict in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab", it is equally imperative for the political executive headed by the President of India too that while considering any case it should equally not go "contrary to the binding dictum of rarest of rare" in clemency cases too. Otherwise, we not only make the political executive (which does not always go by the merits of each case) to sit judgement over the judicial verdict of the highest court of the country but also make our judicial system open to the charge of "miscarriage of justice" and a laughing stock of the nation and the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Waging war against corruption is no sin or crime

Waging war against corruption is no sin or crime
Going by the manner in which government administration in the country functions, it looks when India got independence 65 years ago, the only change it underwent was the colour from white to brown. The body, heart, mind and mentality remained the same as that of the alien government.
When Congress was founded in 1885, it was an elite social club to bother about only the social problems facing the country. In the course of time it came to demand freedom. Society and nation are the institutions intertwined and complementary to each other, inseparable like the Siamese twins. The problems of the society are the problems of the nation and vice versa. That is why when the Congress put forward the demand for freedom from the British yoke it was as much a social demand as was it a national one. Instinct to freedom ingrained in every individual is that of the society and the nation.  The British rulers then dismissed the demand as a ‘political’ issue with which, it initially claimed, the common man of the country had nothing to do. For them the demand was politically motivated and those at the helm of affairs had been fascinated by the loaves and fishes of power.
In a way the apprehensions the British expressed and the insinuations they made have now come true in post-British independent India. Congressmen today claim the electoral support of the people as a matter of right in return for the sacrifices made by their leaders and Nehru-Gandhi family.
Like freedom, prices, inflation, corruption, poverty, unemployment, education, Kashmir issue, border dispute with China and every matter concerning a vast multitude of the population is as much a social problem as is it a national one. The same have to be addressed by those in power. These issues have nothing to do with politics except that a solution to all these problems lies in the hands of the administration which is, incidentally, run by members of political party/parties voted into power by the society.
Therefore, any issue raised or demand made concerning any of the problems facing the country cannot be a political one. In other words, any solution to a national problem struck by an administration run by politicians cannot be political but national alone because it concerns, affects and benefits the whole nation. At the same time, failure of a government run by politicians to solve a social or national problem is the failure of the politicians at the helm of office. The curse of untouchability, sati, widow remarriage, child marriage etc. were social problems raised by leaders of the society and eradicated through administrative measures and legal enactments supplemented with the support of the society.
Therefore, the manner in which the present UPA government reacted to the two social movements of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev against corruption and black money during the last about two years was reminiscent of the way the then British government dealt with the freedom movement. It tried to defeat the movement not on the strength of people’s support but by shooting sharp and hitting it hard with administrative highhandedness, coercion, terror, divide and rule policy and even, at times, trying to enter into a dialogue. When they failed, they tried to run down the movements with oft-repeated niche of being “politically motivated”. It misused the institutions of police and legal system, by instituting cases against them personally, their family members or dear ones and misusing administrative machinery, police and law enforcing agencies.
That exactly is what the UPA is indulging in against both Anna Hazare,  Baba Ramdev, their trusts and associates. The moment these gentlemen raised a cry against corruption and black money, instead of taking corruption and black money issues by the horn, it aimed all its guns of administrative agencies, police, income tax department, enforcement directorate and what not at them to dig out cases against them.
During the last over eight years when UPA has been in power, it has never failed to take a vow to wage a relentless war against corruption. But innumerable corruption cases, scams and scandals have given a lie to its vows. It has refused to order independent and impartial inquiries against the individual ministers complained against to instill a sense of confidence in the government. On the contrary, it has presented itself before the people as a great chivalrous warrior against those who were fighting corruption.
Economic crises and rise in prices and inflation has been attributed to the phenomenon of rising corruption. According to The Economic Times (December 3, 2011) India dropped 11 places to figure at 95 in transparency and corruption index. It is UPA’s failure to act in right earnest against the demon of corruption and black money stashed in foreign banks running into lakhs of crores of rupees that generated a vacuum which the likes of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have come to fill It would be expecting too much if the UPA itself prefers to sit idle on these burning issues and if anybody startles it from its slumber, cry hoarse and foul.  It is a natural phenomenon that others would come to fill the space left vacant by any government. Had there been no corruption and no black money stashed in Swiss banks who would have lent its ears to the likes of Anna and Ramdev? Glossing over the plight of the people because of corruption, black money, rising prices and inflation is a sin and a matter of shame  
Corruption and black money are social and national issues. It is a campaign no individual, no organization and no political party can afford to oppose, not even the Congress. Therefore, it was but natural that political parties should try to appear on the right side on the issue. No individual or organization, however social and non-political could win its fight against corruption and black money without political support because ultimately it is the political parties which have to clinch the issue in the legislatures and administration run by them.
Surprisingly, when on August 13, BJP and other NDA leaders, as also TDP, Biju Janta Dal, joined the stage with Baba Ramdev and even BSP and SP supporting the UPA from outside extended their support to him, instead of siding with the cause against corruption, the Congress came out with an oft-repeated charge that the movement is ‘politically motivated’ and its organizers had political ambitions.
What a hypocrisy that it was no politics when last year in 2011 the UPA directed its five senior cabinet ministers to receive Baba Ramdev and hold discussions with him at the airport itself to persuade him not to fast at Ramlila Maindan, Delhi. Again it was no politics when last year a group of ministers was made to sit with Anna Hazare and his team for framing a Jan Lokpal Bill. But when political parties barring Congress shared the dais with Baba Ramdev, it gives the stink of politics to Congress.
If in 1971 late Mrs. Indira Gandhi could make gharibi hatao (remove poverty) the political and election plank of Congress it is an act of piety for it though it did not become a sin for Congress when it failed to come up to its promise and poverty remains there even after 40 years. But when political parties displayed their solidarity with a non-political individual and organization in fight against corruption, it looked a great sin for Congress. For the present dispensation, it looks, not fighting corruption at the administrative and political level is a pious act but joining hands with those fighting corruption is a sin.
Fighting for independence was a noble cause with everybody irrespective of one’s caste, creed and sex joining it. Not everybody at that time was a Congressman or went by Congress ideology. At that time those leading the fight accepted support from anybody, everybody without a question. Even within Congress there were different groups. But their differences were in approach to achieve it; everybody’s goal was one: to oust the British to usher in freedom. In the same manner everybody, every political party included, should join hands contributing their mite in the fight for independence from the curses of corruption and black money.  
If tomorrow the heroes of the present movement against corruption and black money receive an overwhelming support from the people and win elections that can be no sin. People have prized such fighters for common causes at the hustings. After all the present generation of Congress men and others are even now milking the sacrifices of their great grand elders for their fight against the British at that time. Votes are sought in the name of Nehru-Gandhi even today. If Congress men can do it as a pious matter of right, how can it be a sin tomorrow in the case of the valiant fighters against corruption? Just as the intransigence of the British made heroes of Congress men, so will that of the Congress-led UPA spring up heroes among those who are today fighting against corruption and black money.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

News/Views August 12, 2012

News/Views August 12, 2012

the pioneer
Sunday Magazine       Goodbye Anna
Agenda (Page 1)                               Art. by S. Nihal Singh

The Sunday Statesman

Edit page (6)                 Privilege to Punish
                                        Art. by Nirmalendu Bikash Rakshit

Political Diary (7)                             Ramdev must review strategy
                                                            By Kalyani Shankar.

SUNDAY Hindustan times

THE BIG STORY Page 11             Will the real Mr. Kejriwal Please Stand up?

THINK (Page 13)                             MOTHER MARY

The Sunday Express

Idea Exchange Page 10                    'The strength of this government is not its
(with Arun Jaitley)                            performance, but its ability to manipulate the
'political class'

Page 11
Out of my mind                               Not so fast
by Meghnad Desai

Fifth Column                                     Sonia Speaks
Tavleen Singh


Page 5                                                            Free India Un-free India Inc

Page 8                                                            GoI: Ambassador of Business Gridlock


INSIDE STORY                              Out of the SHADOWS
Page 24                                              The Congress has finally decided to play its trump
                                                            card Priyanka Gandhi

  दैनिक भास्‍कर Sunday

पृष्‍ठ 1               अमेरीकी गुरूदवारे में कालेका ने लिखा
                    साहस का ग्रंथ

नया इण्डिया
 रविवार खास  
पृष्‍ठ 7               मनरेगा पर उठे हैं गम्‍भीर सवाल

Saturday, August 11, 2012

News/Views for us – August 11, 2012

News/Views for us
August 11, 2012

The Indian Express

News (front page)     "Anna quoted Gandhi, asked team to delay politics"

Op-ed page(15)          The Kiss of Socialism – article by Surjit S. Bhalla
                                    A house for democracy – article by P. D. T. Achary.

The Times of India

THE TIMES OF IDEAS  Shaping Tomorrow's Politics – Article by Chetan Bhagat
(Edit page 18)             The Three Faces of America –  Article by Gautam Adhikari.

The Economic Times

Edit page (8)               Why Our Democracy Can't Live Without Corruption
                                                – Art. by Praveen S. Thampi

                                    Why Advani is wrong on Assam –  Art. by Abheek Barman.

Comment Page 8       It's a battle for the middle classes – Art. by Manoj Joshi
                                    4 medals out of 1.2 bn people is just too few – Art. by Sandeep Bamzai

Friday, August 10, 2012

News/Views for us: August 10, 2012

News/Views for us
August 10, 2012

The Tribune
On J&K
Page 17                       'Take small bribes but don't loot'
Page 28                       Mary is a breath of fresh air for India

Edit Page (6)               Of Churchil, Lords & the art of retiring
                                    Article by Swpan  Dasgupta

Front page news:        Govt has 'badly lost its way', hurting economy: Moody's

News Page 9:              CPM coffers bulge with capitalist cash, reveals data given to EC

News Page 13:             Meghalaya's Cong CM too rings alarm
                                        (about illegal Bangladeshi influx)
Speeking Tree             Awaken 'Krishna' In Your Consciousness
Page 16                       By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


News Page 4               Court criticizes inaction against illegal Bangladeshi migration


Cover page (1)                Songs that stir!

BLAST FROM THE       Safar (1970)
PAST (Page 4)

दैनिक नया इण्डिया
अगस्‍त 07,2012
अति रोचक
लेख               तीस साल का इतिहास
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

After 65 years a re-visit to Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny

After 65 years a re-visit to
Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny

By Amba Charan Vashishth
 As zero hour struck at midnight on August 15, 1947 India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in that hour of pride and pleasure made a memorable and momentous speech “Tryst with Destiny” in the Constituent Assembly. His address made history. It was a great speech, a great prose and an example of excellent oratory.

Reading it once again after a lapse of 65 years is both exhilarating and exciting. In the present perspective, many interpretations and omissions strike the mind.

The first to surface remains Pandit Nehru's failure to mention, even obliquely and indirectly, the partition of the country and the birth of Pakistan that had become an actuality twenty-four hours before. A holocaust in different parts of the country and in areas which had become Pakistan that day had already set in. It will be too much to say that the feelings of joy over hard won freedom overwhelmed the pain and misery of the crores of his countrymen. It could only be otherwise. Our joy of having won freedom had actually been pierced with the pain of holocaust, murder and transfer of population – people marching towards unknown destinations, penniless and robbed of their belongings and brethren. He seemed, deliberately of course, trying to overlook a harsh reality and to suppress his own emotions of pain from brewing to the brim -- the feelings that must have inundated his heart then. One of the reasons for omission could have been his sense of remorse for having failed to prevent the balkanisation of India and, in particular, to honour Mahatma Gandhi's solemn pledge: "I won’t allow the partition of the country. The country would be partitioned only over my dead body."

Nehru’s agony did find expression when he said: “Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now.”  He seemed never to live in the reality of the present; he was extravagantly optimistic about his dreams for the future   “Nevertheless”, he adds, “the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now”. The later events brought out the fact that he always looked up to future overlooking the truth of the present. He appeared never to have done his homework to anticipate and predict the future; he just dreamed of it.  He ignored the present of stark reality whether it was the invasion by Pakistan in Kashmir or the threat from China. He never made the present strong enough to secure the future with own strength and confidence.  Kashmir problem continues to haunt and torment us even today. India has lost more innocent men, women, children and security forces to the dragon of terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere than she did during the three wars with Pakistan and one with China.
He was speaking as a great visionary, but his apparition went awry. He failed to anticipate the tragedy that lay ahead for crores of his countrymen – crores who lost their life and crores who had to leave their homes and hearths for an uncertain future in the aftermath of freedom and partition of the country they loved. The then lakhpatis stood reduced to penury, some even having been forced to beg.

His speech was surely a good prose, articulately drafted and crafted; yet it was not a fact that “At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”.  In fact, in many parts of the world at that moment, it was day light and not the dark of night “when the world sleeps”.

India was slave, never dead

India may have been slave and helpless for centuries, but she never was dead or in slumber to "awake to life".  While India did wake up to freedom at that moment, she certainly did not “awake to life” because India was never dead or extinct even under foreign domination. Nations can be enslaven even for long, for centuries but they never die

The most striking at that hour of great triumph and victory was the omission by Pandit Nehru to mention the name of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi whom he and we credit with having won us freedom through non-violent means without a drop of blood being shed. The omission certainly looked a deliberate act. Was it an apprehension in his heart that taking his name may hurt the sentiments of a section of the people inflicted with the wounds of partition? With this conscious or unconscious act of not mentioning his name, he deprived the messiah of freedom and non-violence the credit which rightly belonged to him and him alone and to no one else in this hour of achievement and glory to the nation.

Why Mahatma omitted?

He was certainly referring to Mahatma Gandhi without mentioning him by name, when he referred to the “ambition of the greatest man of our generation …. to wipe every tear from every eye”. But why did he refrain from mentioning him by name, particularly when it was the right moment to do so? Strange, we regard him as the Father of the Nation, but feel shy of taking his name when the nation is unchained out of the bonds of slavery because of his leadership and guidance.

Guilty conscious?

Pandit Nehru seemed to be alive to the fact that people will blame him for the partition.  And that is, perhaps, why he says that this is “no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others”.

He seems incoherent when he turns philosophical and says: “Peace has been said to be indivisible, so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments”. It was freedom that divided an undivided India into present India and Pakistan. Peace and freedom, even during his era, remained divisible. "Prosperity" and "disaster" during his time and even now, continue to remain not "indivisible". If he was speaking of the whole world as “One World” even that “One World” was “split into isolated fragments” during his own time.                                                                              ***